Its almost my Crohniversary! Almost 2yrs to the day since I was officially diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself pre Crohn's;
I would say I was probably a bit of a drama queen. I revelled in arguments. I loved to make a mountain out of a molehill and went through all the normal teenage angst of thinking the world (and my parents) were against me. I liked to think everything I wanted was going to simply fall into my lap and my life would turn out as I wanted with minimal effort on my part. If something didn't go to plan it was simply someone else's fault - no question. As I was so wonderfully perfect how could it be my fault? I was as contrary as could be.
This phase of my life didn't last too long, thankfully. It didn't disappear entirely however, various ups and downs I encountered over the years to follow kept me in the mindset of my responsibility for my own actions having to be minimal.
Looking back I certainly don't think this was all outwardly apparent, perhaps to those closest to me, but on the outside I probably seemed pretty mature, I suppose I was - I knew my behaviour was that of an arse but I wasn't quite mature enough to stop it entirely.
This idiotic attitude calmed as I got older and then post diagnosis, stopped altogether. I was suddenly in a whole other realm of responsibility - this time I couldn't blame the Gods, my parents or anyone I saw fit to for my disease, as it was entirely irrelevant. Blaming anyone for Crohn's and having a hissy fit wouldn't make this go away.
I did the opposite to what my younger self would've expected me to do, and refrained from shaking my fists and sobbing at how the world has turned on me and gifted me this horrible disease. I didn't give it big licks on the "why me?" front.
I DID cry, I got angry at my own body, the doctors for not being able to fix me, I grieved for the loss of my health, then I sucked it up and focused on feeling better. I listened to those same doctors and paid attention to what I needed to do to get better.
Now, post Crohn's, I am definitely a different person. I'm not angry. I don't worry as much as I did before - because I know I can face whatever Crohn's has to throw at me. That doesn't mean I will relish the future with an incurable disease, but it does mean I know I am strong enough to cope with it. I don't look on everything in a negative way anymore, I look at what I have and what I almost lost and smile at how lucky I am. I don't take anything or anyone for granted and love passionately and unconditionally.
I embrace my disease and try to help others do the same. I use all my best qualities to my advantage and strive to see the best of what should traditionally be a negative thing. I'm not going to go down the road of it being fate that I got Crohn's because I don't believe that, I just see it as the kick up the colon I needed to see life as a positive thing and not something to waste on negative thinking.
So if you are in the same position I was 2 years ago and it seems like the world is ending, please believe me when I say it isn't. Crohn's is a terrible disease and can take over if you let it, so don't. It really is that simple. It took me a while to work that out so I'm giving you a heads up here! You are stronger than your disease. Don't let it define you.
Crohn's may have ravaged most of my insides, and a lot of the outside, but the only part of my body it can't reach is my brain, and I'd like to keep it that way.